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'Everyone is a suspect' // Police investigating drowning of two young brothers in pit

JACKSONVILLE - The mother said she was forced to abandon her children to escape from armed men who had forced her car off the road. When police found the two boys early Saturday, they were floating in a pit about a mile from their home.

Four-year-old Devin Perdue died Saturday at Baptist Medical Center.

His 2-year-old brother, Corey, died Sunday morning at University Medical Center.

The regional medical examiner's office said both drowned.

On Monday, police said they were still investigating the boys' deaths and the mother's story.

"Everyone is a suspect," said Sgt. Steve Weintraub, a police spokesman.

Officers said Veronica Perdue, 22, called police about 3 a.m. Saturday. She told them that she had left the boys in a car parked at the edge of the pit when she fled from three assailants who had forced her car off the road.

Weintraub said investigators were having difficulty getting solid details from the mother, including descriptions of the alleged assailants.

"It has changed several times," he said.

"Right now there are a lot of discrepancies and we are trying to follow all leads," he said.

Homicide investigators want to interview the children's mother again but were prevented from doing so Monday, Weintraub said, because she had herself admitted to a local hospital.